This experiment tries to understand how managers respond to uncertainty when making research and development decisions. Three experiments were conducted with master’s degree students in a program focused on the intersection of business and technology.
IGL Trials Database
IGL curates a database with randomised controlled trials in the field of innovation, entrepreneurship and growth. Browse our list of topics, see it as a map, or use the search function below.
This paper explores what might motivate employees to participate in internal crowdsourcing, a peer-based approach to innovation.
This paper investigates the role of information sharing among experts as the driver of evaluation decisions.
This paper compares how two common incentive schemes affect innovative performance in a field experiment run in partnership with a large life sciences company.
User entrepreneurs are responsible for the most important innovations in many industries, but little research has explored the performance of firms founded by user entrepreneurs. While user entrepreneurs have a deep knowledge of customer needs that facilitates the identification of innovative solutions, they tend to lack the relevant business knowledge (e.g., market, production, operational and organizational) to successfully exploit opportunities and grow their ventures.
Individual-level opportunity recognition processes are vital to corporate entrepreneurship. However, little is known regarding how managerial communication impacts the effectiveness of idea suggestion systems in stimulating individuals' participation in intrapreneurial ideation. Integrating self-determination theory, creativity, and framing research, we theorize how different ways of inviting employees to submit proposals (opt-out/opt-in registration; provision of examples) affect the number and quality of submitted ideas.
Existing theories and empirical research on how innovation occurs largely assume that innovativeness is an inherent characteristic of the individual and that people with this innate ability select into jobs that require it. In this paper, we investigate whether people who do not self-select into being innovators can be induced to innovate, and whether they innovate differently than those who do self-select into innovating.
This study explores how individuals develop habitual perspectives from repetitive tasks they enact over time, and how these deeply ingrained habits of perspective influence creativity. Further, this study proposes that habits of perspective are resistant to the creativity-stunting effect of financial incentives.
We design two laboratory experiments to analyze the causal effects of competition on step-by-step innovation. Innovations result from costly R&D investments and move technology up one step. Competition is inversely measured by the ex post rents for firms that operate at the same technological level, that is, for neck-and-neck firms. First, we find that increased competition leads to a significant increase in R&D investments by neck-and-neck firms.
As the largest encyclopedia in the world, it is not surprising that Wikipedia reflects the state of scientific knowledge. However, Wikipedia is also one of the most accessed websites in the world, including by scientists, which suggests that it also has the potential to shape science. This paper shows that it does. Incorporating ideas into Wikipedia leads to those ideas being used more in the scientific literature.
It is well-established that the effectiveness of pay-for-performance (PfP) schemes depends on employee- and organization-specific factors. However, less is known about the role of external forces. Investigating the role of market competition on the effectiveness of PfP, we theorize that there are two counteracting effects – business stealing and competitor response – that jointly generate an inverted U-shape relationship between PfP effectiveness and competition.
This paper investigates whether social identity considerations and norms may be driving occupational choices by women.
We report results of a natural field experiment conducted at a medical organization that sought contribution of public goods (i.e., projects for organizational improvement) from its 1200 employees. Offering a prize for winning submissions boosted participation by 85 percent without affecting the quality of the submissions. The effect was consistent across gender and job type. We posit that the allure of a prize, in combination with mission-oriented preferences, drove participation.
Search costs continue to powerfully shape (and limit) the formation of collaborations between scientists. Formation of collaborations appears
to be highly sensitive to information-rich face-to-face interactions, which existing communications technologies may not sufficiently substitute.
In October 2014, all 4,494 undergraduates at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were given access to Bitcoin, a decentralized digital currency. As a unique feature of the experiment, students who would generally adopt first were placed in a situation where many of their peers received access to the technology before them, and they then had to decide whether to continue to invest in this digital currency or exit. Our results suggest that when natural early adopters are delayed relative to their peers, they are more likely to reject the technology.
This article studies technology adoption in a cluster of soccer-ball producers in Sialkot, Pakistan. We invented a new cutting technology that reduces waste of the primary raw material and gave the technology to a random subset of producers. Despite the clear net benefits for nearly all firms, after 15 months take-up remained puzzlingly low.
U.S. intellectual property law is firmly rooted in utilitarian principles. Copyright law is viewed as a means to give proper monetary incentives to authors for their creative effort. Many European copyright systems pursue additional goals: Authors have the right to be named as author, to control alterations and to retract their work in case their artistic beliefs have changed. Protecting these “moral rights” might be justified by the preferences of typical authors.
This natural field experiment tests the effects of purely symbolic awards on volunteer retention in a public goods context. The experiment is conducted at Wikipedia, which faces declining editor retention rates, particularly among newcomers. Randomization assures that award receipt is orthogonal to previous performance. The analysis reveals that awards have a sizeable effect on newcomer retention, which persists over the four quarters following the initial intervention.
This paper focuses on the evaluation of frontier scientific research projects and argues that the intellectual distance between the knowledge embodied in research proposals and an evaluator's own expertise systematically relates to the evaluations given.
In the context of online developer tournaments this study found that added rivalry is likely to induce higher performance given that failing to exert effort will reduce the likelihood of winning a prize. Tournament organizers can leverage contest size, dividing competitors by ability, and opening entry to all, as policy tools to manipulate the performance of competitors, particularly when changes allow the reallocation of prize money.
Field experiments have the potential to provide unambiguous causal evidence on innovation topics while simultaneously assisting organisations with their innovation.
All creativity and innovation build on existing ideas. Authors and inventors copy, adapt, improve, interpret, and refine the ideas that have come before them. The central task of intellectual property (IP) law is regulating this sequential innovation to ensure that initial creators and subsequent creators receive the appropriate sets of incentives. Although many scholars have applied the tools of economic analysis to consider whether IP law is successful in encouraging cumulative innovation, that work has rested on a set of untested assumptions about creators’ behavior.
What is the impact of different types of knowledge transfer activities on the number and quality of business-science interactions? Motivated by the “European Paradox” (top-notch academic research but much weaker business-science links), this trial will test the impact of two interventions to raise awareness of academic research and connect it to businesses.
Competition between firms to invent and patent an idea, or “patent racing,” has been much discussed in theory, but seldom analyzed empirically. This article introduces an empirical way to identify patent races, and provides the first broad-based view of them in the real world. It reveals that patent races are common, particularly in information-technology fields. The analysis is then extended to get the causal impact of winning a patent race, using a regression-discontinuity approach.
How do different types of proximity impact collaboration and knowledge generation? How should we design research campuses to maximize the probability of breakthrough innovation taking place? Although information and communication technology has substantially lowered the cost of remote interactions, physical space and geographic proximity still play a major role in inventive activity. This project will explore how a research-intensive academic campus should be designed to increase the probability of breakthrough innovations taking place.
The adoption of new clinical practice patterns by medical care providers is often challenging, even when they are believed to be both efficacious and profitable. This paper uses a randomized field experiment to examine the effects of temporary financial incentives paid to medical care clinics for the initiation of prenatal care in the first trimester of pregnancy. The rate of early initiation of prenatal care was 34% higher in the treatment group than in the control group while the incentives were being paid, and this effect persisted at least 24 months or more after the incentives ended.
The Innovation Voucher Program analyzed in this study operates as a randomized controlled trial (RCT). This allows estimating the causal effect of the voucher on innovation and growth measures of beneficiaries, as well as their business outcomes in general. As a result, the evidence might be used to enhance voucher schemes and to provide further policy advice on how to effectively support small and medium-sized enterprises and their innovation activities in the future.
In order to understand how managers respond to uncertainty when making research and development decisions, three experiments were conducted with master’s degree students in a program focused on the intersection of business and technology.
In the context of an online software development tournament, intermediate disclosure policy increased information and signaling in
the innovation environment. Final disclosure promoted higher levels of entry and effort and independent experimentation; while it generated a diversity of approaches, this led to considerable effort devoted to suboptimal approaches and overall performance achieved.
Organizations that depend on voluntary contributions face unique managerial challenges. In this project, we examine whether emphasizing the salience of project output (i.e., project outcome) or project input (i.e., labor costs) affect the quantity and quality of contributions using a randomized field experiment on the world's largest crowd science platform. We manipulate whether participants receive information that emphasizes their contribution to the eventual outcome of a task or information that emphasizes their contribution to the labor required for a task.